I spend one day on Herakles; one rotation of a world lost far behind. I sleep, some seconds, and think some more; I try to prise the answer from my mind but cannot see (much less grasp) the skein of truth from entanglement with the lies.
Lies there are. I know that now. I feel them whispered in my memory, traipsing in my ideas of how the whole thing works. The people and the places, all for us - or so we're told - a gift from some unknown power or happened thing. Eternity lurks away into the night, to leave us with the couches, parties, places in the light - to take what joy we can in companionship in this most lonely place that is not one. We are not; we're just an idiom, perhaps. A stray gone thought from worlds that wanted us no more - enough to let us leave, with sighed relief as we (congratulating ourselves) slipped through the door into the long cold dark.
At the base of this are stories told. I myself was settled down, when first I ventured out beyond, and told some tales of what might lie there, in wait for when the Nameless come. I think I need to hear those tales again - but this time, with questions asked. Not accepted to a word, or bonded to the eyes of the newly-born. I need her, to tell me what she said and which parts I can now these long years past trust - and which will leave me dead.
One day gone, in seconds fled. I stand again upon the bridge and think of where to find her. The ship watches patiently as I depart - it will be there for seven years and all eternity in tiny slices if I need ever to return.
I will find her, as I always do, because of the dog.
None other are accompanied. She goes where she will, the faithful beast always close at hand - and none of us know how the trick is done. But there it is. Look into history with careful eye - and there she'll be, hound lolling at her side when disaster strikes, when a battle's won. Always in the right-hand-side of any image of the time or place; nondescript careful shapeless woman, dog by her side, and somehow (trick of circumstance) you'll never see her face.
I have, once. Just once. When she brought me out of my world into the lanes, she looked at me - and since that time I have done my utmost to forget her eyes. We're all alone out here, but she looks patiently out from orbs that have seen nights far longer, further than the rest of us. The universe's size becomes apparent in ten seconds of her glance, and afterwards, you'll know (as I did then) why it is with mercy that she has no face.
It is midnight, and at the stroke, I must depart to find her and all those others who have the keys - or answers, horrid thought. I will find them all, and before my meeting six days hence I will know more.
<--Previous | A Namedropping story | Next-->